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Full text of "John Whitehead, of New Haven and Branford, Conn."

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[Reprinted from Nbw-Eng. Historical and Genealogical Register for April, 1901.] 

Republished by the Author, 

New Britain, Conn. 


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John Whitehead, with his brother Thomas, was brought to this country 
when a mere child, by Francis Hall of New Haven, at the request of Dea. 
George Alcocke of Roxbury, Mass., who was uncle to the Whitehead boys. 
According to the " Halls of New England," by Rev. David B. Hall, Francis 
Hall and his brother William came from Milford, County of Surrey, Eng- 
land, in the ship with Rev. Henry Whitefield and his party of emigrants 
from Kent and Surrey, who settled at Guilford, Conn. They arrived in 
New Haven in time for Francis Hall to attend the meeting in Mr. New- 
man's barn, June 4, 1639, where said Hall signed the fundamental agree- 

The first record found of the Whitehead boys is on page 60 of Hoadly's 
New Haven Colony Records, Vol. 1, when at a court held Dec. 1, 1641, 
" Itt is ordered that Goodm Hall shall have liberty to dispose of the chil- 
dren wch. he brought ovr. till the court have light to dispose otherwise of 
them, provided thatt they be well looked vnto and well vsed. And Goodma 
Hitchcock who is to have one of them is to pay to the Treasurer what is due 
for the boy and Goodm. Hall is to be payd out of itt whatt is due to him." 

That this order relates to the Whitehead boys is shown by the next 
reference to them, on Feb. 1, 1647, on page 365 of the same book, as fol- 
lows : " John Thompson atturney for Thomas Allcote in the Baye re- 
quirreth youthes of Francis Halle w ch he brought from England long since, 
that is to save John Whitehead & Thomas Whitehead, and saith he hath 
order to send them to the said Thomas Allcote whoe is ther vnkell. 

" Francis Halle saith at the desire of their vnkell, Mr. Allcote of Rox- 
berey, since deceased, bee brought these youthes ouer, and was at great 
charges with them for their passage and other occasions, w ch he saith Mr. 
Allcote promised to paye to his satisfaction when he came heare, but when 
he came ther vnkell was deade, and knew not of whom to seeke his money, 
iff the boyes had dyed he should have lost it, for ought he knows, for he 
knew of no other vnkell they had, but he was blamed that he had not used 
that meanes to find oute ther vnkell or send to ther mother as he might 
have done, (thoughe. he saith he hath sent,) but he acquainted the courte 
then w th it, and w th their approbation one of them was disposed to Mathias 
Hitcheoke, the other he kept himselfe till they might have further light to 
dispose of them. 

" The court being dissierous that the chilldren might have no wronge, and 
also that the ptyes w' :h have brought them vp heitherto, (seeing they were 
small,) might be justly satisfy ed, did seriously consider and weighe the 

charges and hazards the several ptyea had bine at w th them, as also the ad- 
vantages the boyes might In.' vnto them. And after a large di !> t te concern- 
in- those accounts, in the issue agreed, that Thomas Whithead w 1 ' was 
with Mathias Hitchcocke, be at the end of •"> yeares and eight moneths from 
the time be bad hime, s« • 1 1 free, al w' 1 ' time the Baid .Mathias put the said 
Tbomas to Davide A.twatter for I years and 4 monethes. thoughe he had 
mi right so to do, but now the said Thomas declaring bimselfe willing to 
abide with his master David Atwatter, till be may beare from bis vnkell, 
so he mayehave just satisfaction for the time to come, so longe as he stayeth 
with hime. They bothe agreed before the conrte, that he Bhould have 3£ 
a yeare, meate, drinke and clothes. And concerning John Whithead, it 
is ordered that Francis Halle sett hime free from this time, and paye vnto 
him 50. S." Pope's " Pioneers of Mass.," under Thomas Alcock, says: 
•• I lis sister Elizabeth Whitehead of Lemington Priors wrote him 25 (8) 
1647 concerning her sons, John and Thomas Whitehead then with Francis 
Ball of New Haven, who formerly lived in Buckintun parish where her 
uncle Darbie lived." The note book of William Aspinwall is Mr. Pope's 
authority. This letter explains how the Alcocks were uncle to the White- 
head boys, Mrs. Whitehead being Elizabeth Alcock, sister of said Alcocks, 
and also shows that she was living at Lemington Priors (now Lemington) 
in Warwickshire, Eng., in 10-17. We find a Bulkingtoa parish but no 
Buckintun in Warwickshire. This location for Francis Hall casts a doubt 
on the statement of his English home herein before given. The letter is 
dated the 8th month of 1647 and as .under the old style Feb. would have 
been the 12th month of the same year, the appearance of Mr. Alcock's 
attorney in New Haven was evidently the result of the said Iett< r. George 
Alcock of Roxbury, who died Dec, 30, 1 040, .was a brother of Thomas 
Alcock who resided at Boston, Mass., in 1047. Francis Hall's statement 
that when he arrived here Mr. George Alcock was dead, is contradicted 
by the record, which shows that Mr. Hall was in New Haven more 
than a year and a half before George Alcock died; but probably Mr. Hall 
was negligent, and perhaps Mr. Alcock's death was the first knowledge 
he had of him after coining to this country, lie had, no doubt, learned of 
Mr. Alcock's death when " he acquainted the conrte" with the matter in 
10 11, at which time Thomas Whitehead was given to Mr. Hitchcock, while 
John was held by Mr. Hall and probably lived with him until freed by the 
court in 1647. The five years and eight months when Thomas was to be 
Bet Eree had more than expired when the court order of 1017 was made, 
and although he was to stay for a time with .Mr. Atwater he probably soon 
left him, for, on the 7th of the following March, " David Attwater entered 
action against Mathias Hitchcocke for 10 £ wch the said Mathias Hitch- 
cocke receaved of David Atwater, for tin; servic of Thomas Whitehead 

for, I years and eight m One th 8 wch Mathias Hitchcocke could not perform, 
he not haueing a full right to dispose of the Baid Thomas." (Hoadly's 
.New Haven Colony Records, Vol. 1, p. 370.) What became of Thou 
Whitehead is not known, and this 18 the la-.i record so far found of him. 

John Whitehead probably left Mr. Hall in 10 17 and went to work for 
Mr. Jasper Crane, for. on .Inly I. 1648 (Hoadly, Vol. 1. page 891) we 
find that "John Whitehead, servant to Mr. ('ram- was complained of for 
want of a pine in the locke of his pec. His master saith it was no other 
defect than hath passed this 8 years and could not be mended without a 

new stocke and the gunsmith said it was sufficient. The court for this 
time passed it without a fine but agreed that it should be mended." 
Although he left Mr. Hall he appears to have received only ten of the fifty 
shillings that the court ordered Mr. Hall to pay the said John Whitehead, 
for, on Feb. 6, 1648, Mr. Crane sued Francis Hall for sundry items, one of 
which was forty shillings " due Jno. Whitehead, his servant, wch was 
ordered by this court for Frau. Hall to paye " etc. 

There was one Samuel Whitehead in New Haven when the first agree- 
ment was signed, Nov. 24, 1638, who remained in New Haven. There 
was also an Isaac Whitehead in New Haven in 1643, and a Sister White- 
head, when the meeting house was seated in 1646, but nothing is found to 
show any relationship between any of these Whiteheads and the White- 
head boys. The fact that they appear to have been utterly indifferent, 
leaving said boys to the tender mercies of Francis Hall and the Court, in- 
dicate that there was no near relationship. 

John Whitehead settled in Branford, Conn., where he married Martha, 
daughter of Leslie Bradfleld, March 9, 1661. (Branford Land Records.) 
According to the revised copy of the church records, John Whitehead and 
"Martha B. Whitehead" became members of the church in 1653, but of 
course her name must have been Martha Branfield at that time, thus show- 
ing that the record has been changed since 1653. He was also one of the 
parties to the new church covenant in 1667, and in 1669 was nominated for 
freeman. On Jan. 19, 1669, the Recorders court at Branford did " sentence 
yt the said John Whitehead shall paye or cause to be payed unto William 
Hoadiy the sum of 15S. for ye damage that the said John Whitehead's 
hoges did m. William Hoadly's orcheat in eating of his apples." (Bran- 
ford Land Records, Vol. 1, page 209.) John AVhitehead deeds land to 
John Charles on May 18, 1678, to Samuel Frisbie on Jan. 19, 1669, and 
to Quitton Stockin on Dec. 27, 1680, but the records do not show how nor 
when he obtained said lands. In 1682 he, with others, made choice of 
their plow land in Branford, He died there before the second Monday of 
June, 1695, when his widow Martha exhibited the inventory of the estate 
to the County Court at New Haven, and was appointed administrator on his 
estate, and the names and ages of the eight surviving children were given 
as follows : 

"John Whitehead, oldest, Hannah Whitehead, 31, 

Samuel " 23, Mercy " 27, 

Eliphalet " 21, Damaris " 25, 

Thomas " 14, Elizabeth " 18." 

The said inventory is found in Vol. 2, of the New Haven Probate 
records, page 184, and amounts to £231. 14. 00. The oldest son, John, 
died before the estate was settled, as is shown from the following, dated the 
first Monday of March, 1707-8 : 

"Administration on the estate of John Whitehead late of Branford 
deceased granted to Mehitable widow relict of the deed, xxx ordered to 
make an inventory — by reason that her said husband, being eldest son, 
and Thomas Whitehead have not reed, their portions of their father's 
estate, John Whitehead Senr. formerly of said Branford deed., xxx The 
court being certified by receipts under ye hands of Peter Tiler, Benjamin 
Howd, William Luddington and Michael Pamer in right of their wives 

that they hare received their full portions of the inventoried estate of their 
father said John Whitehead Senior, deed., ami also their portion of their 
brother Eliphalet "Whitehead sine- deceased, do order that all the residue 
of the real inventoried estate, (except the widow's dower sett off and lands 
allotted to said four daughters,) be divided by three freeholders of Bran- 
ford, a double share thereof to the heirs of John Whitehead, deed, son of 
John Whitehead Senior, and one single share to -aid Thomas Whitehead, 
and for as much as Samuel Whitehead son to sd. John Whitehead, Seiir. 
deed, hath been absent about 8 year and not known to be living or dead, if 
he happen to return must be considered by an equal portion with the rest" 
tVe. (New Haven County Court Records, Vol. -. page 342). 

The final distribution of the estate of John Whitehead, Jr., is recorded 
on page 196, Vol. 3, New Haven Probate Kecoids, under date of Oct. 29, 
1711, .John Russell. Uzall Wardwell and Edward Prisbie, dividers, when 
Thomas, Samuel, Elizabeth Ilowd, Hannah Tyler and Mercy Luddington 
are given their portions direct, the remainder being given to the legal rep- 
resentatives of .John and Damaris. 

On March 16, 1707, Martha Whitehead " widdow & admin, estate of 
my late husband John Whitehead of Branford deseeased," deeds to her 
" three sons-in-law, Peter Tyler Senr. of Branford, William Luddington of 
East Haven, and Benjamin Howd of Branford," two thirds of the home- 
Btead, signing the deed by her mark. M. W. ( Uranford Land Records, 
Vol. 2, p. 203.) On March 1, 1707-8, she deeds land to her son-in-law 
Micah Pamer "for part of his wife's portion." (Vol. 3, p. 34.) On Jan. 
3, 1708, "John and Thomas Whitehead, Peter Tyler, Senr., in the right 
of Hannah his wife, Micah Pamer in right of Damaris his wife, and Ben- 
jamin Ilowd in right of Elizabeth his wdfe, all of Branford, and William 
Luddington of New Haven in right of Mary his wife, in consideration of 
our near Love, Good will and Dutiful! affection to our Hear .Mother 
Martha Whitehead," deed her their righl in the house &c. (Vol. 3, p. 78). 
This deed, in connection with the Court order before noted, shows that 
John Whitehead, Jr., was living on Jan. 3, 1707-8, and died before March 
7 of the same year. 

On May 21,1778, Martha Whitehead deeds land to Hannah Tyler, in 
'■ ( lonsideration of the great care and relief which I have ha 1 from my 
Daughter Hannah In my long weak desolate condition" (Vol. 3, p. 100) ; 
and on Oec. 4, 1711, she deeds land to her son Thomas. Several other 
deeds appear of record from Martha Whitehead. 

The names of the children appear both in the land and Church records 
of Uranford, the date of the baptism, with one exception, being the same 
as the date of the birth. 

Children of John Whitehead, Sen. : 

i. Mary, b. May 6, 1662. Not included in the names of children ap- 
pended to the inventory of her father's estate in 1G95. 

ii. Hannah, b. March 10, 1664; m. Peter Tyler, Senr., of Branford, 

Conn., D.c. 25, L688, as second wife. Said Tyler m. 1st, Deborah Swain, 
Nov. 29, 1671. 

iii. John, b. Feb. 20, 1665-6; m. MehitaMe, dau. of Stephen and 
Tabitha (Wilkinson) Bishop, Aug. 9. 170 1. He died before the first Mon- 
day in March, 1707-8, when bis estate was probated at New Haven. 

iv. Martha, b. Jan. 10, 1667-8; name afterwards changed to Mercy; 
m. William Luddington of Iron Works farms, East Haven, Conn., June, 
1690, as second wife. His first wife was Martha Rose. He died in Feb. 
1737. Widow Mercy Luddington died Nov. 23, 1743, aged 75. (Dodd's 
History of East Haven.) This death record identifies her as the Martha 
born 1668, rather than the Mary born 1662. 

v. Damaris, b. Jan. 20, 1669-70, m. Micah Pamer of Branford, Conn., 
Feb. 14, 1693 ; died before Oct. 29, 17 L 4. 

vi. Samuel, born Nov. 24, 1672. Had been absent about eight years in 
1708, and "not known to be living," but was included in the distribution 
of his brother John's estate, in 1714. 

vii. Eliphalet, b. Sep. 27, 1 674 ; died after second Monday in June, 
[10th], 1695, and before first Monday in March [1st], 1707-8, leaving no 

viii. Elizabeth, b, Oct., 1677; m. Benjamin Howd of Branford, Conn., 
Oct. 1, 1705. 

ix. Thomas, b. Feb. 27. 1680-1.